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|Dengue In The News (Bahamas and Caribbean)|
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|Posted by:||Aug 19th 2011, 05:25:37 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||[Briland update: Ministry of Health trucks have been spraying the island this week as a precautionary measure.]
WHO specialist helping Bahamas government with dengue fever strategy
Published on August 17, 2011
By Krystel Rolle
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- As the number of dengue fever cases continues to grow, Bahamas government officials met on Monday with a World Health Organization (WHO) regional consultant on vector-borne disease control, Dr Christian Frederickson, who is expected to assist the country with the outbreak.
Frederickson is in the country for a week investigating the scope of the outbreak and the government’s response to it.
Frederickson told The Nassau Guardian that he will make full recommendations to the government at the end of his trip. In the meantime, he said the government’s response should focus on community involvement and getting the message out about the illness and its spread.
The government has launched a multi-ministry response to the outbreak. Environment Minister Earl Deveaux said over the next few days, Frederickson will work with DEHS.
“He will monitor their whole program, check their protocols and test... insecticides, so we can tell the public how what we are using compares,” Deveaux said.
With over 1,600 cases of dengue fever having been reported, Frederickson said every effort should be made to reduce the chances of new cases emerging.
Asked if the number of cases reported should be a cause of serious concern, Frederickson replied that he has only received preliminary information on the scale of the outbreak.
He added: “Anytime that you have dengue cases I would consider that you would want to reduce the number of cases, and reduce the conditions that are producing the dengue cases. So even if you’re only having a few cases, I would be promoting vector reduction.”
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the virus.
Frederickson emphasized that it is important to get everyone involved in efforts to tackle the outbreak.
“One of the main messages is that the Ministry of Health can’t do all of the things. They can’t check everyone’s backyard and eliminate all of the mosquitoes breeding in everyone’s yard,” he said.
Frederickson recommended that homeowners spend 10 minutes once a week checking their yards for, and eliminating, containers with water that could be breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Deveaux said fogging continues across New Providence on a daily basis and DEHS has targeted areas of particular concern.
“What they are finding is the vector is most active where people use a lot of standing water and where there is a huge opportunity for buckets, drums, plants and pots,” Deveaux said.
Those areas have been sprayed nine times since July 4 when the first cases of dengue fever were brought to the attention of the government, Deveaux said.
But the minister said if people don’t assist in removing water storage containers, a new generation of mosquitoes would be generated every six says.
“The whole island was fogged twice. That should be more than enough to see a reduction. So what we need now is the public’s assistance,” Deveaux added.
Frederickson noted that a similar dengue fever outbreak is affecting the wider Caribbean region, specifically St Lucia, Aruba and Curacao.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian http://www.thenassauguardian.com
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